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How to Apply for FAFSA to Obtain College Money

Updated on January 22, 2011

What is FAFSA?

Submitting a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application is the easiest way to obtain money for college. Before you apply for a student loan and enter into a legally binding contract that will leave you in debt for years, apply for FAFSA and receive free money. FAFSA will not pay for everything, especially if you attend a university, but if you demonstrate financial need, applying will definitely be worthwhile. Read on for the most important things to know about FAFSA, including eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Am I eligible to receive financial aid?

Some requirements are:

  1. Be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen of the U.S. with a valid Social Security Number
  2. Have a high school diploma, a GED, complete homeschooling, or pass a test to show you will benefit
  3. Enroll in an eligible program where you are seeking a degree or certificate
  4. Have satisfactory grades and class attendance
  5. Have financial need

Please contact the FAFSA website or your school's financial aid department to verify with certainty whether you qualify, because there are other issues such as past drug convictions that will affect your aid.

How do I Apply?

Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can do so through the FAFSA website, or you may opt to file on a paper form. The processing period is much shorter if you choose to file electronically. Your FAFSA will be processed in less than a week, and a Student Aid Report will be sent to your college(s). An Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be noted in the upper right hand corner of your SAR. Your EFC is based on the information reported on your FAFSA. Your school will use the EFC to award your financial aid. Do not lie on your FAFSA application, as you are legally responsible for the information you provide.

How do I receive my aid?

Your college will give (or mail) an award letter to you. The letter will provide details about the financial aid and amounts for which you are eligible. The school will apply the money toward any classes you enroll in, books you purchase, and other additional fees. If any money is left over, your school will mail a check to you after a couple of weeks of school starting. This money is supposed to be used for education purposes.

How much money will I receive?

The money you recieve is dependent on your EFC, your year in school, your enrollment status, and the cost of attendance at your school.

In Conclusion

For further reading, and to apply visit the FAFSA website.

I highly recommend FAFSA, since you do not have to pay this money back. If you live in a state which has a lottery that contributes to an education fund, you should make sure to take advantage of that financial aid as well. Avoid student loans as much as possible.

I hope this helps, and enjoy your federally funded classes!


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